Din-E-Ilahi was a religion introduced by the Mughal emperor Akbar, and he founded it on the basis of many religions prevalent in our country. It was an amalgam of beliefs and practices from religions like Jainism, Islam, Hinduism, Sufism, and Zoroastrianism. The religion did not last long or have many followers. Still, Din-E-Ilahi did raise conflict between the Mughal emperor and the Indian Islamic community due to the Mughal emperor trying to become a figure like the Prophet by preaching his religion.
What is Din-E-Ilahi?
Din-E-Ilahi religion was initiated by Akbar, in 1582. To bring people to believe in one God, he introduced his religion. It is also called Tauhid-I-Ilahi. Akbar tolerated many religions of India without pushing the belief of the religion he previously practiced. Still, he created Din-E-Ilahi to bring people closer through a religion that served only one God.
Influences of Din-E-Ilahi:
Din-E-Ilahi synthesized beliefs taken from religions like Sufism, Jainism, Hinduism, Islam, and Zoroastrianism. He took parts of religions and made them into an amalgamation of one. From Sufism, he took the yearning of God to purify the soul of human beings; people are lost in the love of God and yearn for Him to make their souls pure and free from sins. The sins to purge were lust, slander, sensuality, and pride, while the virtues of Din-E-Ilahi from Sufism included piety, prudence, the practice of abstinence, and showing kindness. Being celibate and actively practicing it was taken from Catholicism. Meaningless slaughter of animals came to be forbidden like in Jainism and Hinduism, and vegetarianism was also practiced. Din-E-Ilahi religion, started by Akbar, had no form of hierarchy like Islam and Sikhism. The religion also had no scriptures, since the foundation of the religion was started in Akbar’s House of Worship, where he discussed questions about faith with the religious members of the community.
Followers of Din-E-Ilahi:
The Din-E-Ilahi religion did not have many followers, and it remained that way till the end of the religion. Akbar handpicked his followers of religions according to their allegiance and devotion to him; he proposed the idea of following Din-E-Ilahi in front of them.
The first-ever follower of Din-E-Ilahi and the first one who accepted the religion of Akbar among other members of his court was Birbal. Although the followers during Akbar’s time were not more than twenty, the religion remained with a cult-like personality.
Who was Birbal?
Mahesh Das or more popularly known as Birbal or Raja Birbal was the first person, the first luminary from the court of Akbar, who accepted the emperor’s personally founded religion, Din-E-Ilahi. Birbal was one of the most important people of Akbar and one of his closest too. He was the main advisor and chief commander of Akbar’s Army. When Birbal was first appointed by Akbar in his court as a Minister, he used to be a singer as well as a poet, he was among the nine jewels of Akbar’s court. Birbal was the only Hindu to accept Akbar’s religion of Din-E-Ilahi.
Principles of Din-E-Ilahi religion:
The principles of the Din-E-Ilahi religion are written below:
- The Unity of God.
- Followers of the Din-E-Ilahi religion salute one another with ‘Allah-u-Akbar’ or Jalla Jalaluhu. The salute is translated to May his glory be glorified.
- Any kind of consumption of meat is prohibited.
- Every member needed to have a party on the occasion of their birthday.
- Since the consumption of meat was prohibited, the violence of any kind was also forbidden for the followers. The followers of Din-E-Ilahi were also prohibited from dining or associating with fishermen, hunters and butchers.
Din-e-Ilahi was a form of religion started and founded by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, the successor of Humayun. The first and foremost follower of the religion Din-E-Ilahi was Birbal, the advisor and main commander of the Mughal army. Birbal accepted the religion in respect of his emperor, and other members of Akbar’s court followed suit. Akbar introduced Din-E-Ilahi in the year 1582; the religion of Din-E-Ilahi was more like a cult and had only eighteen followers. The main goal of the emperor Akbar for the creation of Din-E-Ilahi was to bring the people of his empire closer together by believing in only one God. Since the principles of Din-E-Ilahi were a synthesis of beliefs from the different religions seen and practiced around his empire and the country, he thought the religion could work, but he was proven wrong.